09/26/2010 archive

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart: “Obama’s Kryptonite”

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Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

New York Times Editorial: The G.O.P.’s ‘Pledge’

Extravagant promises and bluster are the stuff of campaign rhetoric, but the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” goes far beyond the norm.

Its breathless mimicry of the Declaration of Independence – the “governed do not consent,” it declares, while vowing to rein in “an arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites” – would be ludicrous, if these were not destructively polarized times.

While it promises to create jobs, control deficit spending and restore Americans’ trust in government, it is devoid of tough policy choices. This new “governing agenda” does not say how the Republicans would replace revenue that would be lost from permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts, or how they would manage Medicare and Social Security, or even which discretionary programs would go when they slash $100 billion in spending. Their record at all of these things is dismal.

The best way to understand the pledge is as a bid to co-opt the Tea Party by a Republican leadership that wants to sound insurrectionist but is the same old Washington elite. These are the folks who slashed taxes on the rich, turned a surplus into a crushing deficit, and helped unleash the financial crisis that has thrown millions of Americans out of their jobs and their homes.

Not only are the players the same, the policies are the same. Just more tax cuts for the rich and more deficit spending. We find it hard to believe that even the most disaffected voters will be taken in. But again, these are strange and worrying times.

Still, the pledge was worth a careful reading. It is a reminder that there is a choice to be made this fall.

Maureen Dowd: Slouching Toward Washington

Holy Roddy McDowall.

Christine O’Donnell doesn’t understand why monkeys can’t turn into people right before her eyes.

Bill Maher continued his video torment of O’Donnell by releasing another old clip of her on his HBO show on Friday night, this time showing one in which she argued that “Evolution is a myth.”

Maher shot back, “Have you ever looked at a monkey?” To which O’Donnell rebutted, “Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?”

The comedian has a soft spot for the sweet-faced Republican Senate candidate from Delaware, but as he told me on Friday, it’s “powerful stupid to think primate evolution could happen fast enough to observe it. That’s bacteria.

“I find it so much more damaging than the witch stuff because she could be in a position to make decisions about scientific issues, like global warming and stem cells, and she thinks primate evolution can happen in a week and mice have human brains.”

The Week In Review 9/19 – 25

260 Stories served.  37 per day.

This is actually the hardest diary to execute, and yet perhaps the most valuable because it lets you track story trends over time.  It should be a Sunday morning feature.

On This Day in History: September 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

September 26 is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 96 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day on 1957, West Side Story premieres on Broadway. East Side Story was the original title of the Shakespeare-inspired musical conceived by choreographer Jerome Robbins, written by playwright Arthur Laurents and scored by composer and lyricist Leonard Bernstein in 1949. A tale of star-crossed lovers-one Jewish, the other Catholic-on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the show in its original form never went into production, and the idea was set aside for the next six years. It was more than just a change of setting, however, that helped the re-titled show get off the ground in the mid-1950s. It was also the addition of a young, relatively unknown lyricist named Stephen Sondheim. The book by Arthur Laurents and the incredible choreography by Jerome Robbins helped make West Side Story a work of lasting genius, but it was the strength of the songs by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein that allowed it to make its Broadway debut on this day in 1957.

There are no videos of the original Broadway production which starred Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, Ken Le Roy as Bernardo and Chita Rivera as Anita (Ms. Rivera reprized her role in the movie), so here is the Prologue from the Academy Award winning movie. The area that the movie was filmed no longer exists. The 17 blocks between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he filming took place were demolished to build Lincoln Center for the Preforming Arts.

F1: Singapore

Scuderia Marlboro UPC has an interesing grid, first and last.  This is unlikely to move them in the Constructors Championship, but then again both Red Bull and McLaren would have to DNF both their cars for about 3 races to move Marlboro into contention anyway.  I’m sure Alonso sees this as an opportunity and Massa is sorely disappointed, it’s been a very bad year for him.

Not as bad as Schumacher’s mind you, though he starts in the top 10 for the first time in what seems like… ever.  Lots of speculation that at 41 he’s just too damn old, but I don’t blame the man, it’s his equipment.  Brawn/Mercedes has never contended.

Anyway this is the kind of commentary that takes up the boring parts of the race (which is most of it quite frankly) during the silly season as we wind down the races and everyone’s position gets set further in stone.  I don’t really find the debates about who’s the best of the worst (none of the new teams has shown much this year) all that fascinating.  What I did find a little interesting was talk about rule changes that would allow turbo charging and fatter front tires.  The concept is that would eliminate some of the passing problem which is ‘supposedly’ due to spoiled air and lack of boost.  I look at Turn Left racing and its emphasis on drafting and say- maybe.  Many of the drivers of the not so rich teams are unhappy with the idea and contend instead that it’s the constant rule changes and lack of development time that keep them down.

The track will be damp and stay that way since it’s hot and humid and there’s no sun to dry it out.  All the edges are sharp so there will be no recovering, just broken suspensions and flying body parts.  Hamilton really, really hates the adjusments they’ve made to the main chicane, but he can’t afford another DNF.  Vettel qualified well (again) but the Championship action is all with Webber.  Alonso and Scuderia Marlboro UPC think they were born to the throne but truth is without winning out and some mistakes from everyone else it ain’t happening.

The big puzzle is all the electronics failures.  Most teams are reporting at least brown outs in telemetry (not so difficult to imagine given the interference from buildings and grand stands), but losing your engine control computer is a race ender.

Nick Heidfeld has replaced Pedro de la Rosa on Sauber, Christian Klien has succeeded Sakon Yamamoto and Karun Chandhok on Hispania.  Hulkenberg has a 5 position penalty for replacing his transmission.  Race 15 of 19.

My Qualifying Commentary, Speed Channel Racecast, Formula One Official Website.

Starting Grid and Standings below.

Morning Shinbun Sunday September 26

Sunday’s Headlines:

Barak says West Bank settlement deal has ’50-50′ chance

‘My happy days at school with North Korea’s future leader’


Walking away with less

Washington state wrestles with tax-the-rich ballot measure


Gypsy circus is next on France’s expulsion list

Russia hails Prince Michael, the Royal Family member with Tsarist blood in his veins

Middle East

Official doubts scale of Yemen’s campaign against al Qaeda

In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises


North Korean elite secretly jostle for the reins of power

India sprints to save Games reputation


Egypt and Thirsty Neighbors Are at Odds Over Nile

Latin America

The former guerrilla set to be the world’s most powerful woman

Prime Time

Repeats of Series Premiers and College Throwball, Oregon @ Boise.  Wasn’t Boise supposed to go straight to the Championship after their first game?  What happened to that plan?

Singapore Grand Prix @ 7:30 am, repeat @ 1 pm.


Saturday Night Live- Amy Poehler, Katy Perry (Season Premier).  GitS: SACYes, Machine Desirantes (Episodes 14 & 15).

The human animal is a beast that must die. If he’s got money, he buys and buys and buys everything he can, in the crazy hope one of those things will be life-everlasting, which it can never be.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Extensive work still needed: Commonwealth Games chief

by Giles Hewitt, AFP

19 mins ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Extensive work remains to be done on the crisis-hit Delhi Commonwealth Games with barely a week to go, federation chief Mike Fennell said on Saturday, warning of the damage done to India’s image.

While acknowledging that a “massive” effort had been made in recent days to address the multiple problems surrounding the October 3-14 event, Fennell voiced concerns on a wide range of issues including athletes’ safety.

“The work left to be done is quite extensive,” said Fennell, who toured the athletes’ village on Friday.